Traditional, creamy, dreamy horchata.
This is my first non alcoholic drink post!
Don’t get me wrong you can add an ounce or two of rum to this and make something great even better but for now let’s focus on plain horchata.
When I was little, growing up in the Bay Area with my extended Mexican family there was always a reason for a party. On holidays, all our birthday or sometimes just random weekends us kids would gather round hitting the piñata while the adults BBQ’d and drank beer. I always remember there being fantastic pastries from the local Mexican bakery and (if we were lucky) horchata.
This creamy sweet drink wasn’t at every gathering but when it was it was a huge crowd favorite – especially with us kids! Between scrambling to eat the most candy that fell from the piñata and guzzling horchata it’s no wonder back in those days we all had sugar highs!
That was then and this is now. I still absolutely love the stuff and order a glass 98% of the time I eat at a taco truck. It’s prefect for warm sunny days and enjoyed by kids and adults alike!
Speaking of warm and sunny.
I know there’s a huge storm hitting the eastern part of the US right now but over here we’re having the warmest, sunniest days of 2017! This meant I was craving something other than a cuppa (tea) or coffee. I wanted something cool, refreshing and sweet to sip on while I wrote up my buffalo chicken bao bun post. That’s when it hit me, make horchata!
My horchata recipe is a “quick” recipe. It starts by toasting rice and a cinnamon stick until just barley brown. Then, I soak the rice and cinnamon in boiling water until it cools to room temperature. That’s why it’s ‘quick’ -many times the rice, cinnamon, water mixture soaks in the fridge overnight to soften the rice and cinnamon. By using boiling water I’ve been able to speed up the process significantly while maintaining all the delicious flavor and creaminess.
Since I’m a traditionalist I use evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk. I know, I know, some people aren’y huge fans of this stuff seeing as it’s so decadent and calorie laden. Listen, you can’t skip it. Please don’t try using some hip sweetener or other ‘healthy’ substitute. There’s only 1/2 a can in the whole recipe and this recipe makes 5 cups.
So please, use it 🙂 after all authentic.
You might have noticed by now I haven’t mentioned using almonds. Well… this recipe does not contain almonds. Repeat no almonds. Almonds aren’t authentic or traditional for this type of horchata. Spanish horchata is made with nuts but Mexican horchata isn’t. I’ve heard people say it adds a creaminess but I find with the additional of the evaporated and condensed milk horchata is plenty rich. I also prefer the flavor without almonds as I think the almonds add too much almond flavor and it ends up tasting like a thicker, sweeter version of almond milk. Not that that’s a bad thing it’s just not horchata.
So now that I’ve gotten all the controversial parts out of the way how about I teach you to make this 5 ingredient rice drink?
- 1/2 cup white rice (I used basmati)
- 5 cups water (4 boiling and 1 cold)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 (6 oz) can evaporated milk
- 1/2 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
- Toast rice and cinnamon stick on a sheet pan in a pre heated 350 F (or 170C) until just browned, about 10-15 mins.
- While rice and cinnamon toast boil 4 cups of water.
- Once rice and cinnamon are toasted add them to a large heat proof bowl and pour boiling in the boiling water. Give the mixture a quick stir and let sit at room temperature for about an hour.
- Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high for 2-3 mins. Once everything is well blended strain through a fine strainer. At this point you can pass it through a cheese cloth if you want to get every particle.
- Add both evaporated and condensed milk to rice mixture and stir to combine. Pour horchata into a pitcher and serve chilled over lots of ice.